Luxury Hotels


Oh so Portugal – see above, a tiled headboard at PINE CLIFFS, a Luxury Collection resort in the Algarve.  Blue tiles like these are quintessentially Portuguese: they were popularised after King Manuel I visited Seville – it’s said he was so enchanted by these tiles’ brightness that he had to bring some home to decorate his palace (now the National Palace of Sintra). Girlahead learned about the history of blue tiles when staying in Ocean Suite #401 at Pine Cliffs. It was subtly themed as an aura of blue, white and taupe, so suitable for the beach, and ocean, a few hundred metres from the resort. You did, mind you, have to take 80 wood steps down and then 112 flat-boardwalk steps to navigate the famous cliffs, but a bit of exercise never did anyone, and especially not Girlahead, any harm.

A travel company specialising in feel-better experiences, Health and Fitness Travel, has a seven-night stay, aimed at singles, among its current offerings – the price, for bed and breakfasts, includes ‘return private transfers’ (from your home, from Faro airport or from the spa?) and a wellness programme, presumably customised. It stresses that people buying this package ‘are in safe hands with nursing staff’, which is handy to know if you are climbing down. (Portugal comes top, by the way, in a global survey of best nations for vacation+work – points taken into account include wellness, cost of living, so much more.)

Wellness additions abound. In The Maldives, Hyatt opens an 80-villa ALILA KOTHAIFARU MALDIVES, a 11.2-hectare private island retreat  in  Raa Atoll, a 45-minute seaplane journey from Malé. The all-pools  resort offers a refreshing blend of serenity and discovery in a relatively untouched corner of the archipelago renowned for its abundant marine life. As one of the deeper atolls in the archipelago, Raa Atoll offers abundant snorkeling and diving options to discover marine life rich in colourful corals through to manta rays and sharks. There’s easy access to Hanifaru Bay UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and ii’s close to Vaadhoo Island, one of the best spots to witness the spectacular ‘Sea of Stars’ phenomenon.

From its New York base, the Global Wellness Institute GWI, led by dynamic CEO Susie Ellis, announces that its 2022 trend is “Wellness Travel, Seekers Welcome”. This argues that with social forces such as the “great resignation,” record retirements and global nomadism, people are now seeking travel experiences that tap into their sense of purpose, their desire to grow creatively and intellectually, and that make a real impact on the planet. Intention is the future of travel, and more travel destinations and companies are answering the call for what could be called a new “intellectual wellness”— whether the surge in citizen science programs or more destinations getting people writing, painting and immersed in all kinds of creative expression.

No hotel owner better embodies creative expression than Jonathan Plutzik. Hear him here: